200 donations and counting
Ken Malone began donating blood as a freshman at the University of Arkansas in 1969. In the mid-nineties, he became a platelet donor. In January 2005, he moved to Oklahoma and began donating with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) at the Tulsa Donor Center where he has averaged twenty-two platelet donations a year. Both of Ken’s parents, his mother-in-law, and two of his grandparents passed away of cancer, so he is acutely aware of the importance of platelets in the treatment of cancer. On March 5, 2014, Ken made his 200th donation.
Ken is Senior Manager of Telecommunications at AVIS Budget Car Rental Contact Center. Although he is not able to donate at his company’s blood drives, he encourages his fellow employees to donate blood.
Some years ago Ken was going on a cruise. Before scheduling his cruise, he asked an OBI employee about places he could or could not go ashore as he did not want to risk deferral.
We would like to thank Ken for his dedication to saving lives through platelet donation.
Click here to schedule your life-saving donation.
New Mother Saved, Thanks to Donors
By Sunshine Wingfield, Community Relations Intern
Bryan and Katy Roybal could not have been more excited as the couple welcomed its first child into the world: a precious baby girl named Jane. But only a short time after delivery, Bryan noticed his wife seemed pale and shaky.
Bryan says it quickly went from being the best day of his life to the worst as he watched Katy fight for her life. Doctors discovered Katy was hemorrhaging, and she was immediately rushed to surgery. The procedure did not effectively stop the bleeding, and Katy hemorrhaged a second time. She then underwent an emergency hysterectomy. In total, she needed 22 units of blood plus platelets.
“I shudder to think about what would have happened if there hadn’t been blood available,” Katy said. “Without those who donated, my daughter would not have her mother, and my husband would be raising Jane alone.”
Having almost lost his wife in 2011, Bryan was inspired to become a blood donor. “I plan on giving regularly now,” he said.
“We are grateful to all the people who gave blood and saved my life,” said Katy. “They have given our family a second chance.”
Thank You for Keeping Me Alive!
Driving down the highway on August 11, 2011, I could have never imagined what lie ahead. During a sudden downpour, my car hydroplaned off the road and into a concrete culvert.
Not only was the passenger side completely crushed, but the transmission was cut in half and the steering wheel was bent. Witnesses didn’t think I was going to make it. I was rushed to Muskogee Regional Medical Center but then transferred on to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa two days later.
Among other brutal injuries to my pelvis, vertebrae, and eye, I also tore the main ligament in my neck that supplies all of the blood to the spinal cord.
I received two plasma transfusions after losing copious amounts of blood.
After reaching a point of stability, I was released on August 29, 2011. But the long road to recovery was only beginning. I was sent home with a tracheotomy and was in a wheelchair, but started physical therapy a couple weeks later and had surgery to get the screw taken out of my pelvis.
Now, I still have short-term memory loss, major headaches and neck pain. But because of those who donated blood, I am still alive.
I attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah every month for traumatic brain injury therapy to regain my memory and learn to multitask.
In April 2013, I became a blood donor and started giving back. I just want to thank everyone who is and has donated blood to save people’s lives like mine. Every donation truly makes a difference. God bless you all!
Pictured above, Haley in front of the culvert where she crashed.
We would like to thank Haley for using “Share Your Story” to tell us her story.
Little Survivor Gives Thanks
Last December, Isabelle Ratcliff was just returning home for the holidays. The eight-year-old, Tuttle girl had spent months in the hospital battling leukemia. But as her strength began to return earlier this year, she and her mother took a very important outing. The two visited an Oklahoma City donor center to give thanks to donors giving blood. Isabelle wore her special shirt proclaiming, “I’m ALIVE Thanks To A Blood Donor.”
“Seeing the donors brought back memories for Isabelle,” said Rebekah Ratcliff, mom.
In the summer of 2011, Isabelle ran a high fever that wouldn’t break. She was sent to the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center. Before she could undergo tests, she had to be given two units of blood and a unit of platelets. Tests revealed Isabelle had leukemia.
While spending five months in the hospital, Isabelle received numerous blood transfusions, and today she is cancer free. She and her family realize the value of blood donation, and hope that by showing their appreciation in person, they can be an encouragement to donors.
When asked to explain what happens with donated blood, Isabelle remarked, “They send it to the hospital, and give it to kids who need it.” And though the process is a bit more complex than what she described, Isabelle definitely understands and is grateful for the life-saving gift of blood this holiday season.
Joseph Newport Story
Rob Cox Story
Blood Delivery Gets Personal
Something didn’t seem right to David Ash, Blood Products Services courier for Oklahoma Blood Institute. Feeling very ill with an elevated blood pressure, he went home from work on March 3. The next morning, his doctor advised him to go to the Oklahoma Heart Hospital - one of the facilities where David routinely delivers blood. Once there, he learned he was having a heart attack.
Physicians quickly performed an angioplasty to see if stents or a balloon could help, only to find that virtually no blood was flowing through David’s heart. A balloon was inserted and inflated to open the coronary artery and keep him alive until he could have surgery.
On March 6, while waiting for heart bypass surgery, David “coded”. After being revived, he underwent quintuple (x5) bypass surgery. During the surgery, David was given eight units of red cells plus plasma and platelets. David may have delivered the blood that saved his own life. While in surgery, he again coded and needed to be resuscitated. He became affectionately known as ‘the walking dead man’ among his physicians.
After the surgery, David’s life was still in danger. Not only did he suffer from infection in his incision site, but the surgery had not completely corrected his underlying heart arrhythmia. Cardiac conversion was performed and then, a few months later, a pacemaker was implanted.
Today, David is alive and well. He and his wife, Sharon, administrative assistant, Donor Recruitment, understand the importance of their work more than most.
“Thanks to OBI’s work, prayers from across the country and support from our OBI family, David is back to work and doing well,” said Sharon. “We can never fully express our gratitude for the staff and donors.”
Hunter Denton Story
Mattilynn & Jeremy Hurley Story
A Sooner Thank You
Dear Blood Institute,
During your recent blood drive with the University of Oklahoma, I was honored to donate for the first time. This was a very special moment for me, and I’d like to share why.
Nearing the end of her pregnancy, my mom began to have complications. I was born six weeks prematurely, weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces. After immediately being placed in the intensive care unit, the doctors informed my parents that my mom had suffered an infection in her placenta, and that infection was passed on to me. I had a 30 percent change of living.
My parents were devastated. If I was to have a chance at survival, a blood transfusion would be required because I did not have enough white blood cells to fight off the infection.
During this time, the medical staff was trying to find a donor with my blood type. They found a match - a man in Rochester, NY, three hours northwest of Binghamton, NY, where I was born. This man was a regular donor, and he agreed to donate immediately.
The blood arrived just in time. Three days later, things were looking up. My chance of living was increased to 50 percent, and, at that time, my parents and family knew I was a fighter. I fought off the infection, and I truly believe the kindness of the blood donor from Rochester, NY, saved my life.
Thank you for the work you do and for allowing me to be a part of it.
University of Oklahoma Athletic Department